By Lonnie Wheatley
PEORIA, Ariz. (January 25, 2014) – Dave Darland rebounded from a rough Winter Challenge opener the previous night to top the second leg of the series in Saturday night’s 30-lap USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast Sprint Car feature event atop the 1/3-mile Canyon Speedway Park clay oval.
The Lincoln, IN, racer chased down stablemate Ryan Bernal in heavy traffic on the 18th round and led the remaining distance in the $2,000-to-win affair to give car owner Casey Minks a sweep of the top two positions in the second leg of the six-race set.
“That wasn’t as much about as experience as it was luck, traffic just worked to my advantage to take the lead,” Darland explained in victory lane. “Ryan (Bernal) is a good young racer and he’s got a lot of wins coming in his future.”
While Darland took Sprint Car accolades, Ricky Thornton, Jr., hold off Tim Ward in the IMCA Modified ranks, Ty Warner bested the Pure Stocks, Brenden Priest took Mod Lite honors on the final round and Dustin Cormany earned the Micro Sprint win.
After being eliminated from action on the opening lap of Friday night’s feature, Darland gridded Saturday’s feature outside the second row with Bernal directly in front of him alongside pole starter Tye Mihocko.
After the initial start was waved off for a multi-car tangle in turn one that brought an early end to Colby Copeland’s night, Bernal gunned into the lead with fellow Minks shoe Darland on his tailtank in second.
Bernal set the pace through the first half of the race, with Darland’s opportunity presenting itself when the lead duo approached a gaggle of lapped cars on the 17th lap.
Darland took quick advantage of the slightest of hesitations to take command and after one final caution for a Josh Grady spin in turn two cleared the way with just ten laps to go, Darland held point the rest of the way with Hollister, CA, shoe Bernal settling for a close runner-up finish.
For the second night in a row, reigning USAC Southwest Sprint Car champion R.J. Johnson advanced in the double digits in feature action, this time by racing from 15th to take third away from Josh Pelkey on the white flag lap.
Pelkey settled for fourth with Round One winner Brady Bacon rounding out the top five after starting eighth.
Mired in tenth on the final restart with ten laps to go, Texas shoe Aaron Reutzel raced up to sixth in the final rounds after starting 16th with Charles Davis, Jr., Mihocko, Nic Faas and Josh Hodges completing the top ten.
In the 25-lap IMCA Modified feature, Ricky Thornton, Jr., raced from the third position into the lead on the opening round then worked the low side of the track throughout to hold off Tim Ward for the win. Round One winner Jason Noll moved up to the third position on the 17th round with 18th-starter Jesse Williamson and 22nd-starter Bryan Schultz rounding out the top five.
Ty Warner stalked Speedy Madrid for half the Pure Stock feature before pouncing on the lead and taking the eventual win ahead of Madrid and Doug Porter with Jeremy Eatherton rebounding from an early spin to salvage fourth on the final lap ahead of Nick Langer.
Brenden Priest raced side-by-side with Chaz Baca, Jr., much of the way in the Mod Lite feature before Baca broke on the final lap. Priest then took the checkered flag ahead of Steve Moriarty and J.C. Gilleland.
Dustin Cormany took the lead away from Jacob Hawkins three laps into the Micro Sprint feature then held off some late charges from Tyler Seavey to post the win with Friday night winner Kenny Hilton in third.
Canyon Speedway Park’s Winter Challenge resumes with Round Three on Sunday firing off at 5:00 p.m. Sunday’s USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast Sprint Car feature offers up a $3,000 winner’s share.
Canyon Speedway Park
Winter Challenge Round Two Results:
USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast Sprint Cars:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 50-Charles Davis, Jr., 2. 5-Tye Mihocko, 3. 51x-Jimmy Crawford, 4. 111-Ryan Bernal, 5. 21a-Aaron Reutzel, 6. 12j-Josh Grady, 7. 5d-Dalten Gabbard, 8. 74-Colby Copeland (DNS).
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 1x-Dave Darland, 2. 16-Mike Martin, 3. 99-Brady Bacon, 4. 02-Matt Rossi, 5. 73-Nic Faas, 6. 51-R.J. Johnson, 7. 45-Jason Grady, 8. 55nm-David Dykes.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 21x-Casey Shuman, 2. 12-Josh Pelkey, 3. 4-Stevie Sussex, 4. 20-Shon Deskins, 5. 74x-Josh Hodges, 6. 92-Mitch Mack, 7. 11c-Michael Curtis, 8. 9-Ryan Linder.
“B” Feature (10 Laps): 1. 92-Mitch Mack, 2. 5d-Dalten Gabbard, 3. 11c-Michael Curtis, 4. 74-Colby Copeland, 5. 12j-Josh Grady, 6. 55nm-David Dykes, 7. 45-Jason Grady, 8. 9-Ryan Linder (DNS).
“A” Feature (30 Laps): 1. 1x-Dave Darland, 2. 111-Ryan Bernal, 3. 51-R.J. Johnson, 4. 12-Josh Pelkey, 5. 99-Brady Bacon, 6. 21a-Aaron Reutzel, 7. 50-Charles Davis, Jr., 8. 5-Tye Mihocko, 9. 73-Nic Faas, 10. 74x-Josh Hodges, 11. 16-Mike Martin, 12. 21x-Casey Shuman, 13. 5d-Dalten Gabbard, 14. 20-Shon Deskins, 15. 4-Stevie Sussex, 16. 51x-Jimmy Crawford, 17. 02-Matt Rossi, 18. 11c-Michael Curtis, 19. 92-Mitch Mack, 20. 55nm-David Dykes, 21. 12j-Josh Grady, 22. 74-Colby Copeland.
Lap Leaders: Ryan Bernal 1-17, Dave Darland 18-30.
“A” Feature (25 Laps): 1. 5m-Ricky Thornton, Jr., 2. 4tw-Tim Ward, 3. 44-Jason Noll, 4. W5-Jesse Williamson, 5. L8-Bryan Schultz, 6. 222-Larry Hood, 7. 19sb-Lance Mari, 8. 88c-Chris Olexicwiez, 9. 21r-Riley Simmons, 10. 37-Mike Jergens, 11. 14r-Donald Robinson, 12. 4T-Troy Heupel, 13. 8-Nate Warren, 14. 23jr-Chris McCurdy, Jr., 15. 74-Garrett Funk, 16. 45-Ryan Roath, 17. 3x-Jason Briese, 18. 12-Guy Norton, 19. 99c-Jesse Sobbing, 20. 8a-Dustin Anderson, 21. 19x-Jay Foster, 22. 11-Stephen Pfiefer.
“A” Feature: 1. 90-Ty Warner, 2. 15-Speedy Madrid, 3. ACE-Doug Porter, 4. 66-Jeremy Eatherton, 5. 17L-Nick Langer, 6. 22x-Richard Veralrud, 7. 07-Terry Hill, 8. 92p-John Parmaley, 9. 5m-Zack Madrid, 10. 0-Brian Hatlestad, 11. 28-Mike Herrera, 12. 27T-John Todd, 13. 3p-Johnathan Parker, 14. 84-Mike Goodwin, 15. 21m-Matt Martinez.
“A”Feature: 1. X-Brenden Priest, 2. 17-Steve Moriarty, 3. 117-J.C. Gilleland, 4. 17x-Ryan Gilleland, 5. m14-Tony Martin, 6. 77x-Austin Kuehl, 7. 97-Steve Bender, 8. 7-Mike Schmidt, 9. 26-Eric Muse, 10. 95-Collin Bender, 11. 4-Erin Holmberg, 12. 36-Mike Smith, 13. 55-Lexus Gann, 14. 75-Chaz Baca, Jr., 15. 16-Brian Miller, 16. 30-Nick Gann.
“A” Feature: 1. 14-Dustin Cormany, 2. 82-Tyler Seavey, 3. 42-Kenny Hilton, 4. 6-Dave Van Ess, 5. 12-Jacob Hawkins, 6. 32-Garrett Guilkey, 7. 41-Colton Hardy, 8. 4-Ryan Walter, 9. 57-Kyle Huttenhow, 10. 8-Aaron Miller, 11. 53-Joe Pitts, 12. 94-Cassie Klenkie, 13. 10-Christine Root, 14. 18-Travis Sellars, 15. 101-Jim Branum, 16. 2-Dennis Carrier, 17. 89-Marty Morin, 18. 24-Pat Wing, 19. 45-Brandon Selph, 20. 55-Greg Pritts.